Winner announced for the 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust and Royal & Derngate Northampton announce Nancy Medina as the winner and Josh Seymour as the runner-up of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2018

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) and Royal & Derngate Northampton have announced Nancy Medina as the winner of the 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award and Josh Seymour as the runner-up. Now in its third year, and its second bearing the name of the RTST co-founder, Sir Peter Hall, the award is made to an up-and-coming director demonstrating exceptional directing skills in a rigorous competitive process.

As the winner of the 2018 award, Nancy Medina will now get the opportunity to direct a full-scale, fully funded production to open in 2019 on the Royal Stage, as part of Made In Northampton, in a co-production between Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre (ETT), and then tour to theatres across the UK. The RTST will make a grant of £50,000 to Royal & Derngate to be applied towards the costs of the production.

Nancy Medina and Josh Seymour were selected from 70 longlisted candidates by a panel comprising of: chair James Dacre (Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate), and judges Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE (Artistic Director of the Young Vic); multi-Tony and Olivier Award-winning director Sir Trevor Nunn CBE; Olivier Award-nominees Tanya Moodie and Samantha Bond; four-time Olivier Award-winner Paule Constable (Associate, National Theatre); and Richard Twyman (Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre).

The Award Scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objects in two main ways: it supports emerging talent in the theatre and it supports British regional theatres. The Award Scheme is intended to appeal to a diverse range of candidates and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage and offstage, and among audiences.

Chairman of the RTST, Sir Geoffrey Cass, said: “The 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award had 8 finalists of the very highest quality, selected from a strong field of 70 candidates.  Directing workshops – held over two full days, in which the finalists had to direct actors, observed by our immensely experienced panel of judges, and then be interviewed by the panel – constituted a thorough and exacting test of their directing skills. The winner’s prize is the unique opportunity to direct a production that will premiere on the stage of the Royal in Northampton and go on a main-stage national tour with English Touring Theatre. The RTST’s collaboration with Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre is admirably fulfilling the RTST’s twin primary charitable objectives of encouraging emerging theatre professionals and promoting British regional theatre”.

Deputy Chairman, Mark Hawes, said: “As a result of our RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, we are happy and proud both to have created a gateway for Nancy’s entry into the mid-scale regional theatre scene and to be providing meaningful financial and promotional support to the hotspot of regional theatre-producing excellence that is Royal & Derngate.

Royal & Derngate Artistic Director, James Dacre, and English Touring Theatre Artistic Director, Richard Twyman, said: “It has been inspiring to watch how Nancy and Josh showcased their industrious and sophisticated approach to conceiving and rehearsing a production and their magnetic ability to bring those around them in a rehearsal room closer to the material, throughout this competitive process. The panel were deeply impressed by both candidates’ innate understanding of narrative and the demands of producing on the mid-scale. We’d like to thank all the shortlisted candidates who took so much pleasure and pride in their work during a demanding weekend of workshops and interviews and we are thrilled to have met so many exceptional artists. We look forward to collaborating with Nancy to enable her work to be seen on the mid-scale and on tour for the first time.”

Winner, Nancy Medina said: “I feel privileged and ecstatic to have been named the RTST’s Sir Peter Hall Director Award Winner for 2018.  To get to the next step in my career, through the generous help of RTST, Royal & Derngate, and English Touring Theatre, is truly a dream come true. I cannot thank the RTST panel enough for making the process feel supportive and nurturing.”

The RTST ran the inaugural RTST Director Award Scheme in 2016 with Sheffield Theatres, with the winner Kate Hewitt directing the British regional premiere of Tribes by Nina Raine. The 2016 runner up was Rebecca Frecknall. The RTST ran the re-named 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme with Nuffield Southampton Theatres resulting in the winner Chelsea Walker directing a bold contemporary version of Tennessee Williams’, A Streetcar Named Desire, in a co-production between NST, Theatre Clwyd and English Touring Theatre, which opened at NST City in Southampton in March 2018 and went on tour to seven other theatres. The 2017 runner up was Tinuke Craig.